Agency Performance Partners


How to Deal With an Eeyore: Can You Change an Eeyore

Posted on June 14, 2022 by Alex Arellano

How to Deal With an Eeyore: Can You Change an Eeyore

Ah, Eeyores and Tiggers. No, these names aren’t just reserved for the characters from Winnie the Pooh, and yes, they have a very useful place in the insurance world. Yesterday, we spoke about how exactly to identify an Eeyore in your agency, and today, we’re discussing if you can change an Eeyore or not.

To start with: let’s quickly define an Eeyore. If you have an employee who generally drags, who is resistant to change, who is a little pessimistic, or tends to pump the brakes, that is an Eeyore. You’re probably thinking of an employee or two right now who acts this way.

Eeyores are those employees who are slow, a bit negative, and a little on the downside. On the other hand, Tiggers are those bouncing employees who jump into everything with energy and enthusiasm.Tiggers are go-getters who are always on board.

So the big question is, should you be trying to change an Eeyore in your insurance agency?

Probably not. 

Instead, you should be looking for ways to play to their strengths.


Figure Out The Roles

When you have an Eeyore, sometimes it might be the case that they’re pushing back and resistant to certain things because they’re actually in the wrong seat. While this can be true for anyone, when an Eeyore is in the wrong role in an agency, they’re especially not going to be excited about that work. They also might be overworked, and just generally unhappy.

So a great place to start is sitting down with your Eeyore and figuring out what’s going on. It could be that they need to have their role changed up a little bit, or you might find out that something else is going on (such as something in their personal life). Your Eeyore might just need some time off, or to take a vacation, in order to reboot and get back to a place where they’re excited about work.

But when you talk about roles, you can discuss if there are certain parts of their job that can be tweaked or modified. Some small changes can lead to big shifts in your Eeyore’s attitude.

The only way you’re going to figure this out is by sitting down with your Eeyore and talking to them about what’s going on.

After that, your next step can be to get the team involved.


All About the Teamwork

When you have an Eeyore on your team, it’s very likely you’re not the only one who notices. Your team probably feels it as well.

If it’s just a “mild” case of an Eeyore, it might not be all that big of a deal. If it’s a severe case of an Eeyore, that person’s negative attitude could be impacting the entire team. It also might need to be dealt with in a more severe way, but let’s first focus on manageable cases of Eeyores.

It could be a great idea to bring your team together, and to get them involved. You don’t need to necessarily identify that person, but you can have a general meeting with your whole team, where everyone talks about culture and expectations at the agency. It might be that those expectations of culture were never formally verbalized, and clear communication might help snap that Eeyore out of it.

Now, there are definitely big differences between someone who is having a bad day, or someone who is having an “Eeyore-like” rough patch, and someone who is perpetually a severe Eeyore in your agency. If you have someone who is intensely negative all the time, and they’re impacting others, you might need to address it more seriously.


When Eeyores Cause Damage

When you have someone who is a severe Eeyore, their bad attitude can really cause some damage. It can hold others on your team back, and can impact the way others feel about working at your agency. If this is the case, you might need to get rid of them altogether.

Sometimes, agency leaders hold on to employees because of a scarcity mentality, where they feel like it’s difficult to replace people. Instead, we need to remember that there are plenty of other talented people out there that would be great for the role this Eeyore is occupying.


Changing An Eeyore

At the end of the day, you probably can’t change an Eeyore. But you can sit down with them, discuss their job with them, and figure out exactly why they’re acting like an Eeyore. More likely than not, they have some really good strengths and strong skill points, and they might just need to have their role defined a little. It might be that they’re really good at one thing, and just really don’t enjoy doing something else. 

The bottom line is that you can probably figure out ways to make this process easier for them, and tweak their role so it’s something they really enjoy. Plus, it’s important to remember that there are times when pushing back a little bit is useful. There are places where the brakes certainly should be pumped. 

But if an Eeyore is perpetually resistant to change, resistant to adapting to agency culture, and difficult all around, it might be time to get that person out of your agency. Leaving them on can lead to negative vibes for the entire team, and there are plenty of excellent candidates out there that you can replace them with.


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